‘Always … Patsy Cline’ on stage

Friendship and music combine to take singer Patsy Cline from the stuff of legend to the stage of the O’Shaughnessy Center in Whitefish.

The Whitefish Theatre Company presents “Always … Patsy Cline,” a musical about friendship, music and loss. It will be the company’s third run of the popular show in four years; a rare summer encore performance that will officially close the 2014-2015 season.

“People feel at home with [Patsy Cline’s] music,” said director Nancy Nei. “We’re just so happy to be together again to bring this wonderful show back.”

This year’s run of performances features a returning cast and band, creating a family reunion-type atmosphere on the set.

“Returning to ‘Always … Patsy Cline’ is like returning to a joyful lovefest,” Nei said in a press release. “It’s a family reunion where everyone — cast and crew, band, backup singers, director, and audiences — are truly happy to be there.”

The band, The Bodacious Bobcats, includes director Karla West, Dave Griffith, Connie Rudie, John Goodrich and Dave Wright, along with backup singers Rava Graves, Joey Retz, Sandy Matheny and Lisa Calloway.

The vintage costumes were created by Lonnie Porro, with technical direction by Colin Arakaki and stage managing by Kellie Hoffman.

“Always … Patsy Cline” is a musical tribute to the legendary country singer. Based on the true story of Cline’s life, the show recounts the singer’s relationship with Louise Seger, a fan from Houston. The pair’s friendship was born in 1961 in a Texas honky-tonk, and they remained close friends and pen pals until Cline’s death in a plane crash in 1963 at the age of 30.

The show’s title, an intimate tribute itself, is taken from the closing of all of Cline’s letters to Seger; “Love always, Patsy Cline.”

“There is so much meaning and joy in this story,” said Amanda Duff Caldwell, who plays Patsy Cline. “The music … creates a really fun time, but it also engrosses people in the story of [Cline’s] life. The music connects with people.”

The show features songs including “Crazy,” “Walking After Midnight,” “Your Cheating Heart,” “I Fall to Pieces” and “Back in Baby’s Arms.”

“It’s a real high-energy show,” said Scarlett Schindler, who plays Louise Seger. “The music is amazing.”

“Always … Patsy Cline” runs July 29-31, Aug. 1, and Aug. 5-8 at 8 p.m. at the O’Shaughnessy Center, 1 Central Ave. in Whitefish. Tickets are $25 for reserved table or mezzanine seating, with food and wine available for purchase.

There will also be a preview performance on July 28 at 8 p.m. Tickets for this show are $15 and only sold at the door, beginning an hour prior to the performance time.

Advance tickets can be purchased at the Box Office at the O’Shaughnessy Center, open from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. Monday through Friday and one hour prior to performance times. Tickets can also be purchased online at www.whitefishtheatreco.org or by calling 406-862-5371.

— By Stefanie Thompson / This Week Whitefish

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